This Honda Prelude owner in Quebec, Canada is warning fellow car enthusiasts to learn from his mistakes that if you’re going to get three-piece wheels made, get them from a reputable source.
There are many advantages and a couple of disadvantages with running a three-piece wheel but, for the most part, those who are going for an aggressive and unique stance that no one else has usually will get three-piece wheels for that deep offset and mostly for looks. On somewhat of a budget and a deadline, Québécois Jeremy Bouchard shared the horror story that was his custom three-piece wheel experience from Canadian wheel shop JDN Custom earlier. A few days after his maiden voyage on his custom three-piece setup, one of the wheels destroyed itself at 62 MPH causing his Honda Prelude to flip with that car wrecked and Jeremy suffering moderate injuries.
Check out a couple of photos from the scene of the wreck as well as a collection of images from Jeremy’s text exchange with his wheel builder below.
According to his caption and the set of text messages Jeremy provides, it looks like he commissioned a set of custom three-piece wheels made for around $1500 USD. JDN Custom would take a regular cast wheel, supposedly from a 1996 Chrysler Concorde, and convert them into a three-piece wheel.
But, when you’re working with a one-man operation, although JDN Custom promised three weeks, in reality, it took several months. In addition, JDN recommended and swapped wheel choices on Jeremy at least once.
When he finally got the wheels, some of the wheel barrels exhibited rust and oxidation, the lips showed signs of earlier use and a lot of the hardware wasn’t even all in the same chrome, red flags for sure. To top it all off, two of the wheels did not hold air.
After a quick fix and with all four wheels holding air, it looks like Jeremy had a somewhat successful first outing with his custom three-piece setup. It was only after he took a turn at 60 MPH several days later that his worst fears became true, one of the wheels disintegrated near the wheel hub causing him to lose control, flip his car, and effectively totaling his Honda Prelude.
Since the accident Jeremy’s on the mend, JDN Custom refused any sort of refund and Jeremy’s hopefully getting his money back through other legal avenues.
Why three-piece wheels?
As the name suggests, three-piece wheels are three pieces made from a center face, an inner, and outer barrel. Usually, custom three-piece wheels get assembled from three separate pieces from the start. This allows for intricate designs on the front face you could never get from a one or two-piece wheel, and more importantly, allows for full-forging from high-strength aluminum from the get-go, not compromising strength.
New three-piece wheels cost several thousand to get all the safety of accurately machined parts and new materials so, to avoid that high-cost, what some people are doing for a living is making three-piece wheels out of one-piece cast wheels.
Although risky, when done right and in the hands of an experienced converter, a wheel builder can mitigate risk and they’re a relatively safe option. But, get it wrong, cheap out, and choose the wrong wheel builder and you, unfortunately, end up like Jeremy, without a car, injured, and out several thousand dollars.
My advice is if you are going to get three-piece wheels made, get them from a company that actually makes wheels from start to finish, from raw materials to finished product. At least they’ll have the materials, machinery, expertise, and quality control to, as mentioned, reduce risk.
I would not recommend getting three-piece wheels made from a DIY’er in Pacoima working out of his garage using one-piece cast wheels.
That’s just my .02, I’m sure someone will pop up in the comments how three piece wheels from one-piece cast wheels are totally safe. If you are, please comment!